The biggest reason I wanted to interview you was for your juicy signature sound. How did you go about evolving your sound from "WTF" to "Madness" to where it is today?
It's been a pretty long journey considering that I started out making trance. Then when I discovered dubstep, I wanted to learn how to make my own sounds. When I first heard artists like Ephwurd and Jauz, I immediately knew that was the kind of style I was looking for. I loved how the groove and vibe in house music combined with the weird dubstep basses. In the first couple of tracks as Kage, I was still looking for my own kind of sound. A lot of bass house tracks got faster and sharper, so I tried a more subtle approach and focused more on the deepness and groove. "Mind" is definitely the first track that just felt right for me.
When you hear the first drop of "MSN" with Snavs, on the surface, it seems just like some percussion and a bassline. But what goes on behind the scenes to give these tracks that infectious power?
"Less is more" is the mindset I use for almost every track. Instead of twenty layers of sounds, why not have a single good one. I started out with the same bass as in "Mind" which was made in serum, like 90% of my sounds. We weren't sure about the bpm since his tracks are usually around 150, so I wanted to make something simple that would work at every tempo. Serum is usually not a "warm" plugin, so I add a lot of saturation on the mids to fill up the spectrum and a multiband distortion to finish it up. All of this ensures that you'll have a bass face while listening. For the rhythm, I generally have a single kick plus bass on the first kick to create heavy impact. After that it's just a simple bassline to keep the vibe going.
A while back, you talked about something called "Chapter 2." Can you walk us through these chapters and what we can expect next on this journey?
To explain, I'll first have to tell you that besides KG being my initials, "Kage" also means "Shadow" in Japanese, which fit the dark vibes in my tracks perfectly. I was already a fan of Asian lore, so the choice was easy to make. The chapters on my Instagram are nothing more than representing a next step of Kage. It could be the announcement of a big change, big releases, big gigs, or just simply a "new year new me" kind of thing. It's also a chance for me to switch up the color set to spice things up once in a while. I ended up wiping my Facebook page because of how hard it is for new artist to build a fanbase on that platform without proper paid promotion. So for now, the main focus lies on Instagram.
What can we expect from the KAGE project for the rest of 2019 and beyond?
After my remix debut at Monstercat and second track on Confession, you can expect a really weird but insane collab with an awesome French DJ and producer. I'll be releasing a new EP as well! If you pay attention to mixes and livesets, you might have heard over ten new and upcoming Kage IDs. We're also currently working with a bunch of huge labels so you can definitely expect some big things coming in the future! Hopefully some more Kage sets as well! For those who are interested, just check in on my Instagram page and you'll be up to date!
Thanks so much to Kage for taking the time to answer our questions. Be sure to follow him using the links below!
Chris W. Lao
Writer, DJ, and Student.
High 'n' Rich
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